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Americans Need To Rethink Marijuana Prohibition


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The 1920s national prohibition of alcohol, the "noble experiment," was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America.

However, this did not work and was a wretched disappointment on all counts. Mark Thornton in his work Economics of Prohibition has shown that although consumption of alcohol fell at the beginning of Prohibition, it subsequently increased.

He noted that alcohol became more dangerous to consume; crime increased and became organized. I have not seen any measurable gains made in productivity or increased abstinence with the implementation of prohibition. It is evident that crime is at its all time high right here in this "City of Brotherly Love," even in our midst on college campuses across Philadelphia.

Sadly some crimes committed in this city can be linked to marijuana, but it's important to note that it is not because of the mental effects on the body but because of the great value that the government indirectly creates and places on marijuana. And by value I mean, the herb becomes a prized possession, as it is illegal and hence harder to get. People will kill just to get marijuana. Are people killing to get alcohol? No, because it is a legal commodity, and can be purchased once of age. Why not do the same for marijuana?

The fact that marijuana is in the prohibition mode, most, if not all the wrong things that happened while alcohol was banned will and is creeping back up on us. More and more crimes are now surrounded around marijuana and will escalate given the lack of will on the part of government to consider its legalization. To be fair, marijuana has been ascribed much injustice and the American public ought to hear something refreshingly positive about it from our public officials and lawmakers.

The American public has yet to hear a balanced stance on the topic of legalizing medicinal marijuana, let alone the decriminalization of marijuana, and the overall failure of America's current War on Drugs. Too long have we endured the injustice of imprisoning simple marijuana smokers. It's time for a change.

Former President Jimmy Carter became synonymous with the decriminalization of marijuana campaign; he understood that decriminalizing marijuana would be a step forward in coping with America's failing drug policies. However the "Just Say No" campaign, spearheaded by President Ronald Reagan, undermined Carter's efforts and instead placed marijuana in the category of illicit drugs, making it tier mates with the likes of cocaine and heroine. This had a debilitating effect on the marijuana reform and thus new generations of Americans were grown up to think that marijuana is one of the more dangerous drugs.

Where as I do believe that our country does have serious drug trafficking problems, there is a need for effective drug control. First, we take baby steps in trying to get the conservatives who seem to be the heavyweights on the legislation, to decriminalize marijuana and then subsequently legalize it. Please note the difference between legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana. By decriminalizing the substance fines will be imposed instead of an arrest on the person who breaches the amount allowed to be carried on oneself at any given time, a path followed by Canada that will free up the court/penal system and at the same time create much needed revenue.

Secondly we the people of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania should push for our congressional representatives to implement the use of marijuana for medicinal uses. There are 12 such states for which this is a reality: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

If within the next year there is no break through in the legalization campaign of marijuana, I fear we will continue to dwell in the quagmire of double standards stemming from having the dangerous drug alcohol legal and marijuana the natural herb illegal.

It is obvious that the legalization of marijuana will no doubt continue to be a hot button issue for years to come. So let's get mobilized and press for our congressional representatives to decriminalize it, legalize it, regulate it and finally tax it!

Source: Triangle,The (Drexel U,PA Edu)
Copyright: 2008 The Triangle
Contact: ed-op@thetriangle.org
Website: The Triangle

Herb Fellow

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So let's get mobilized and press for our congressional representatives to decriminalize it, legalize it, regulate it and finally tax it!

It is truly time for marijuana prohibition to come to an end through out the world. Decriminalize! Legalize! Now, the regulate and tax is another battle for another time.
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